Q: My faucets were dripping so I replaced the washers and the seats inside the faucets. The plumbing store proprietor sold me the neoprene washers, so I followed his advice. The leak stopped but now I hear a whistle whenever I turn on the faucets. How do I stop the whistling in the spigots?

A: You probably installed the wrong type faucet washers or seats, or both. Whistling occurs when these are mismatched or when one or both are loose, allowing them to vibrate slightly, causing the sound. Check the seats and washers to make sure they are tight, then try changing either or both for a different style.

Q: I have an outdoor set of redwood picnic furniture that has been stained, but otherwise is unfinished. We would like to move this furniture indoors and use it in our kitchen. We want to coat the furniture with polyurethane to seal it and make it easier to clean. Someone told us that the wood has to breathe and would crack if we used the polyurethane. Is this true, and if so, what can we use to coat it?

A: Don't be afraid to coat the furniture with polyurethane or any other durable varnish. It will not harm the wood. Be sure to clean all dirt and stains, then sand lightly before finishing.